Mary Broome on Jessie Baylin

Mary Broome is a good friend of ours from Nashville. She traded a French literature PhD for the music industry in 2010. She has been working with Sideways Media since, doing online PR and marketing for bands and music-related brands. If she were a tattoo person, she’d have a flying V guitar etched on her left wrist, in honor of Grace Potter, whose management company helped her discover her life’s true passion back in 2008.

A funny thing happened yesterday…

I was revisiting Jessie Baylin’s new album, Little Spark, enjoying every song with each spin, but none more than the title track. Jessie begins with, “In a little while, things will be much better.” As I was totally wrapped up in this moment of clarity, Nina Simone’s “The Other Woman” started playing. My ears didn’t catch it at first, but once I registered what had happened, it totally made sense.

Last week, I read an interview Jessie did with Garden & Gun and learned that she was influenced by Dusty Springfield. Even without that knowledge, anyone would pick up the past in her voice. A scoop of the lover of the “Son of A Preacher Man,” a pinch of Patsy Cline, a little Loretta Lynn, and then… Nina Simone! Of course! Little Spark is equal parts soul, heartbreak, and hope, which is basically Nina Simone’s catalog.

I was introduced to Jessie’s music in Los Angeles in 2008. I remember her standing out in a sea of female singer/songwriters. The scene seemed to be exploding at the time, with Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, etc, etc, ad nauseum (not to be rude, I respect these women). But Jesse was different. She had done a lot of living, you could tell, and she had a story. Maybe that’s why I connected with her so much more.

Cut to 2012: I’m new to Nashville, invited to Jessie’s record release show at 3rd & Lindsley. When I get to the door, I’m standing behind Patrick Carney. I know this is the place to be that Sunday night. Jessie emerges on stage in hipster country garb, her hair tousled. She’s swaying side to side, looking around the crowded room and smiling through the set, edgy, sexy and warm. “Love Is Wasted On Lovers,” is one of those songs I wish I had written. Her cover of “Little Trouble Girl” by Sonic Youth should be on the record. Then “Yuma” gets me reflecting on the real reason why I’m at this concert in the first place (the boy I left who broke my heart in LA). It all totally makes sense.

I walk out alone, thinking about “Little Spark;” I run to my car, trying to beat the cold and my tears; and I say over and over to myself: “In a little while, things will be much better.”

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